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The house of Tudor
05.12.2013, 20:38
The house of Tudor 

INTRODUCTION. I decided to write this essay, because, I am really interested in English history. The five sovereigns of the Tudor dynasty are among the most well-known figures in Royal history.  Of Welsh origin, Henry VII succeeded in ending the Wars of the Roses between the houses of Lancaster and York to found the highly successful Tudor house. He was succeeded by Henry VIII, who is famous for his six wives. This dynasty  ruled  in Britain for 118 eventful years. Henry VIII was followed to the throne by his children Edward VI, Mary I, and Elizabeth I. (Another Tudor descendant, Jane Grey, was put on the throne after Edward VI's death but was overthrown after only nine days.)  They increased the influence of the monarchy, established the Church of England, and made England a world power. When Elizabeth I died in 1603, the Tudor dynasty ended. But the Stuarts, who succeeded the Tudors, were descended from Owen Tudor. Even the modern royal Windsor family can trace its ancestry back to the handsome Welsh squire who married Queen Catherine of Valois.

KING HENRY VII.  1). The house of  Tudor was founded by Owen Tudor, a well-born Welsh man who served as a squire of the body to England's King Henry V. The king died in 1422 and some years later his widow, Catherine of Valois, is said to have married the handsome Tudor. The  middle of the XV century- the time of so-called Wars of the Roses, a series of power struggles between the ruling House of Lancaster and the rival House of York. Owen Tudor was a staunch supporter of the king. In 1461 Tudor led an army into battle against Yorkists forces at Mortimer's Cross in Herefordshire. The Yorkist side won; Tudor was killed; Henry VI lost his throne and the Yorkist claimant, Edward IV, became king. Owen's son Edmund had married Margaret Beaufort, who was descended from King Edward III's son John of Gaunt, the Duke of Lancaster. Edmund died while Margaret was pregnant with their first child, Henry, who was born  on January 28, 1457 in Wales. At first Henry was kept hidden in Wales by his uncle, Jasper Tudor. In 1471 Henry VI died - he may have been murdered - in the Tower of London, and Henry Tudor became the Lancastrian claimant to the throne. Fearing for his nephew's safety, Jasper Tudor smuggled him to Brittany (in France).In 1483 Edward IV died suddenly and his young sons, Edward V and Richard, "disappeared" in the Tower of London. Their uncle, who had imprisoned the boys, swiftly crowned himself Richard III. Not surprisingly, he was an unpopular king. In 1485 Henry Tudor returned to Wales, raised an army, invaded England, and defeated Richard III at the battle of Bosworth Field. Richard died in the battle, and Henry Tudor became Henry VII, the first Tudor king. 2). In 1486 Henry married Richard's niece, Elizabeth of York, uniting the houses of Lancaster and York and ending the Wars of the Roses (although Henry did have to deal with Yorkist uprisings early in his reign). Henry VII was left with just three offspring: Margaret, who was already the queen of Scotland; Henry, the future king of England; and Mary, a future queen of France. In 1509 Henry VII died of tuberculosis. He had brought law and order to England after years of chaos, and made the country important in the eyes of the world.

KING HENRY VIII. 1). Henry VIII was born on June 28, 1491. His father and mother, Henry VII and Elizabeth of York, were loving parents, although they saw little of their children. Henry, their second son, was styled the Duke of York. He had his own servants and minstrels, and a fool named John Goose. He even had a whipping boy who was punished when Henry did something wrong. Henry VII loved entertainers, and the court attracted acrobats, jesters, magicians and musicians. Prince Henry enjoyed music and grew up to be an accomplished musician. 2).  He became a king, when he was 17 years old. Although most people today think of Henry VIII as a fat tyrant, in his youth he was admired for his intelligence, good looks, good nature and athletic ability. One of his contemporaries wrote that he was "one of the best men that lived in his time, in manners more than a man, most amiable, courteous and benign in gesture unto all persons. "But of course, Henry is remembered today for just one thing - well, six things. Six wives, to be exact. He was married to Catherine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn, Jane Seymour, Anne of Cleves, Katherine Howard, and Katherine Parr.

KING EDWARD VI. 1). Henry VIII died in 1547 and his nine-year-old son became King Edward VI. A council was appointed to rule during Edward's minority, with Edward's uncle, the duke of Somerset (Jane Seymour's brother), as Protector of the country and the king. Somerset's brother, Lord High Admiral Thomas Seymour, was jealous of Somerset and schemed to put himself in power. Somerset himself later fell from the king's favour and lost his role as Protector. The duke of Northumberland took control of the king and council, and eventually Somerset, like his brother, was arrested and charged with treason. Under pressure from Northumberland, fourteen-year-old Edward signed Somerset's death warrant. Somerset was executed in 1552. 2).  By this time Edward had completed his education and was participating in council meetings. It was decided that the king would take charge of the country at age sixteen. This was bad news for his sister Mary an ardent Catholic who refused to cooperate with Edward's religious reforms. However, Edward got along well with his other sister, Elizabeth, a moderate Protestant. Edward suffered bouts of measles and smallpox in April 1552, and from that time his health declined. His father's will had specified that Mary should become queen if Edward died without children, but Northumberland had different ideas. He persuaded Edward to name the Protestant Lady Jane Grey as his successor. Lady Jane was the granddaughter of Henry VIII's sister Mary; she was also Northumberland's daughter-in-law, and through her Northumberland hoped to rule England. On July 6, 1553 Edward died. He was fifteen years old. He would be succeeded -- briefly -- by the unfortunate Lady Jane.

LADY JANE GREY. 1). Lady Jane Grey was born in 1537, just two days before King Edward VI, and may have been his friend in childhood. Her father was Henry Grey, the marquis of Dorset (later the duke of Suffolk). Her mother was Frances Brandon, a niece of Henry VIII. At that time, Frances Brandon was third in the line of succession to the throne. Jane had two younger sisters, Katherine and Mary. Jane's parents were, in her words, "sharp and severe" to her. She found refuge in her studies. Jane's parents had big dreams for their intellectual eldest daughter. They hoped she would marry her cousin Edward and thus become queen of England. When Jane was nine, her parents sent her to live with Henry VIII's widow, Katherine Parr, and Katherine's new husband, Thomas Seymour. Jane was happy with the Seymours, but Katherine soon died and Thomas Seymour was arrested, forcing Jane to return to her parents. By the time Jane was 15, her parents had abandoned their dream of marrying her to King Edward, but he wanted to marry Mary, Queen of Scots, or some other foreign princess. Jane wanted to marry to the duke of Somerset's son, Lord Hertford. She was stunned when her parents informed her that she was instead to marry Guildford Dudley, the youngest son of the duke of Northumberland. Guildford was a handsome young man, one year Jane's senior, but it seems Jane didn't like him very much. 2). Jane married Guildford Dudley in May of 1553. Three days later the king died. Northumberland kept the death secret for several days to prevent Edward's sister Mary from claiming the crown. But on July 9 Mary, who was in Norfolk, heard the news and proclaimed herself queen. On the same day Jane was taken to Northumberland's house and led to a throne. Everyone bowed or curtsied to her. Realizing what was happening, Jane began to shake. Northumberland made a speech announcing that Jane was the new queen, at which Jane fell on the floor in a brief faint. The next day Jane made her state entry into London. Most people felt that Mary was the rightful heir to the throne, and very few cheers greeted Jane. She was taken to the Tower of London, as was traditional. For a few days Northumberland stayed close to Jane, bringing her documents to sign and generally telling her what to do. Despite Jane's objection to making Guildford king, Northumberland announced that both she and her husband would be crowned in two weeks. Then Northumberland left with an army to capture Mary, who was marching toward London with an army of her own. While he was gone the nervous royal council decided to proclaim Mary the rightful queen. The proclamation was made on July 19. The people of London were jubilant. Determined to save himself, Jane's father signed the proclamation making Mary queen, then went to his daughter's apartments and tore down her canopy of estate, telling her she was no longer queen. 3). Jane remained in the Tower, where she and Guildford soon became prisoners. Her father and Northumberland were also arrested and brought back to the tower. Henry Grey was released after a few days. He and Frances did not write to Jane or try to save her life. Although Northumberland hastily converted to Catholicism and spoke of his desire to live and kiss Mary's feet, he was executed in August. On November 13 Jane and Guildford were tried and sentenced to death. Jane wasn't worried, however, because she had been told that the queen would pardon her. Then, in February of 1554, Sir Thomas Wyatt raised a revolt against Mary. He was quickly arrested, but his rebellion hardened Mary's heart against her enemies. She signed Jane and Guildford's death warrants. When Jane heard the news she said, "I am ready and glad to end my woeful days." The queen offered to reprieve Jane if she would convert to the Catholic faith, but Jane refused. Jane's father had supported the rebels, and he too was sentenced to death.  They were executed on February, 11.

QUEEN MARY I. 1). Bloody Mary" Tudor was born on February 18, 1516. She was the only surviving child of King Henry VIII's first wife, Catherine of Aragon. Henry doted on Princess Mary when she was little, she received an excellent education. The year 1527 started off well for Princess Mary. But Henry VIII's attitude toward Mary and her mother had started to change. He had decided that God disapproved of his marriage to Catherine; why else had the queen failed to produce healthy male children? And he was in love with the woman who was to become his second wife: Anne Boleyn. Soon Mary learned that Henry wanted to annul his marriage to her mother. For this, the king needed the pope's permission. Henry grew increasingly angry with Catherine for resisting his attempt to end their marriage. Finally, in 1531, he sent Catherine away from court. After being shuffled between various castles and palaces, the queen ended up a prisoner at Kimbolton Castle, near Huntingdon. Mary was now officially a bastard, called "the lady Mary," but, like her mother, she refused to accept her change in status. Henry was infuriated by his daughter's defiance and threatened to have her executed if she did not stop referring to herself as a princess. Catherine and Mary were not permitted to visit each other, and Catherine died in 1536 without seeing her daughter again. Now Mary was alone. . With Anne gone, Henry treated his eldest daughter somewhat more kindly. At first she got along well with the king's other children. After Henry's death in 1547, Mary's nine-year-old half-brother became King Edward VI, then for 9 days-Lady Jane Grey. After a lifetime of sorrow and danger, the 37-year-old Mary Tudor was now the most powerful person in England. 2). Soon after her accession, Mary began considering the possibility of marrying Prince Philip of Spain, the son of her former fiance, Emperor Charles V. It worried her that Philip was 11 years her junior. With difficulty the emperor's envoy convinced her that Philip was a stable, mature adult who would help protect her kingdom.

Mary's subjects were alarmed to learn of her engagement to the Spanish prince, fearing that England would become part of Spain. The queen, however, had no intention of turning the country over to Philip. He arrived in England on July 20, 1554, and met Mary for the first time on July 23. Mary liked Philip from the start, and he treated her kindly, although he probably found her unattractive. The wedding took place two days later. Two months later, Mary's doctors told her that she was pregnant.

In December a law was passed that allowed bishops of the Church of England to convict heretics and sentence them to death by burning. Almost 300 people were burned alive during Mary's reign with Mary's full approval, earning her the nickname "Bloody Mary."

By the summer of 1555 it became obvious that Mary was no longer pregnant, if she had ever been. Mary was bitterly disappointed. Philip left England that August, promising Mary that he would soon return. Mary missed him desperately. Philip didn't return to England until March of 1557. During his absence he had become the king of Spain. After a few months in England he left to go to war; Mary never saw him again. She became depressed and paranoid. Tortured by loneliness and unhappiness, Queen Mary fell ill. She died on November 17, 1558 and was succeeded by her half-sister, Queen Elizabeth I.

QUEEN ELISABETH I.  1). Elizabeth I was born on September 7, 1533 at Greenwich Palace near London. Elizabeth had an older half-sister, Mary, who was the daughter of the king's first wife, Catherine of Aragon.

King Henry had moved heaven and earth to marry Anne Boleyn. Anne was executed, and two weeks later the king married Jane Seymour. In 1537 Queen Jane died after giving birth to a son, Edward. Elizabeth and Mary participated in his christening ceremony. When Elizabeth was four, Katherine Champernowne became her governess. Elizabeth was an excellent student. In 1540 Elizabeth's father married Anne of Cleves. Queen Katherine was beheaded in 1542, when Elizabeth was seven years old. Katherine Howard's violent death seems to have had a lasting impact on Elizabeth. 2). In 1543 Elizabeth gained yet another stepmother when Henry married his sixth and final wife, Katherine Parr. If Mary died without heirs, Elizabeth would become queen. Soon after Henry's death, Elizabeth received a marriage proposal from handsome Thomas Seymour, who was England's Lord Admiral and the brother of the late Queen Jane. Thomas Seymour still had designs on pretty red-haired Elizabeth. Concerned, the queen questioned Elizabeth, who cried and insisted it wasn't true. Understandably upset, Katherine banished Elizabeth from the Old Manor House. A few months later Katherine died after childbirth and Seymour resumed plotting to marry Elizabeth. In 1549 Seymour was arrested on charges of conspiring to marry Elizabeth and take over the government. Kat Ashley was also arrested, along with another of Elizabeth's employees, and Elizabeth herself was closely interrogated. 3). Elizabeth continued to get along well with her brother, King Edward, but in 1553 Edward died. Meanwhile, Henry VIII's daughter Mary was proclaimed queen by her supporters. Elizabeth obediently attended one Mass, but complained the whole time of feeling ill. Because this and Elizabeth's popularity with the English people, Mary grew wary of her half sister. When Sir Thomas Wyatt led an uprising against Mary, the queen suspected that Elizabeth was involved. Elizabeth was taken to London and confined at Whitehall Palace. Mary refused to see her, but Mary's new husband Philip of Spain met with Elizabeth and fell under her spell. At his encouragement Mary finally reconciled with Elizabeth. Finally, on November 17, 1558, Mary died and Elizabeth's years of peril came to an end. She was now the queen of England.4). Elizabeth's advisors urged the twenty-five-year old queen to quickly marry some foreign prince and produce heirs so that the throne would not pass to Henry VIII's great-niece, Mary Stuart, the queen of Scotland. Elizabeth stood by her early decision never to marry. With the help of fine clothes, jewels and cosmetics, the vain queen maintained a glamorous image despite her advancing age. In her mid-fifties she fell in love with Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex, son of Lettice Knollys. Essex was in his early twenties, good-looking, and extremely arrogant. Although he reigned as the queen's favourite for many years, he did not always show Elizabeth the deference she demanded. Once, when Elizabeth slapped him during an argument, Essex threatened to draw his sword on her. Elizabeth sent him to Ireland to quell a rebellion; while there, Essex ignored the queen's orders and pursued his own agenda. When he defied her by returning to England without permission, Elizabeth placed him under house arrest. After his release Essex attempted to lead an uprising against the queen, and the heartbroken Elizabeth had no choice but to sentence him to death. Essex was executed in 1601. Two years later Elizabeth became very ill. Perhaps she did not want to live without Essex; when her doctors offered her medicine, she refused to take it. She died on March 24, 1603 at the age of 69.  Elizabeth was glorified by poets and artists as Gloriana, the Virgin Queen.

CONCLUSION. During this period from 1485 to 1603, England developed into one of the leading European colonial powers, with men such as Sir Walter Raleigh taking part in the conquest of the New World. Nearer to home, campaigns in Ireland brought the country under strict English control. Culturally and socially, the Tudor period saw many changes. The Tudor court played a prominent part in the cultural Renaissance taking place in Europe, nurturing all-round individuals such as William Shakespeare, Edmund Spenser and Cardinal Wolsey. The Tudor period also saw the turbulence of two changes of official religion, resulting in the martyrdom of many innocent believers of both Protestantism and Roman Catholicism. The fear of Roman Catholicism induced by the Reformation was to last for several centuries and to play an influential role in the history of the Succession.
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